Friday, November 30, 2012

Our Trip to Eneko

This is a little islet in our atoll.  You can go and stay on some of the islets and have your own little island for a day or two

On our P Day, the Senior missionaries went to Eniko, an islet in our atoll for the day.  You take a boat out into the lagoon and then its about a 20-30 minute ride to get there.  On the way, we passed lots of little islets in the atoll.  Most  of them are privately owned, but some have picnic facilities or places you can stay overnight.  This one pictured above has a little private cottage on it.  There are a few that you can rent for the night or day and just have your own little party or honeymoon.  They probably have solar power and rain water to drink.  That would be an adventure to talk about.  One of the senior couples is going to do it before they leave.

 More islets along the way.  There are 64 islets that make up Mauro atoll

We rode over in a small boat.  Along the way we passed an airplane wreck and a helicopter crash and were able to get out and snorkel down by the wreckage.  It was fun.  When we got to Eniko Island there were some Sea Kayaks that we could use and a picnic area, restroom, and lots of great snorkeling.  We had a Marshallese Family with us who work for the church and they brought their children.  We had a fun day.  Here are a few more pictures at Eniko and on the way to and from there.
A private island along the way

Our boat coming to get us to take us back to Majuro
This Islet is supposed to be owned by one of the richest families in the Marshall Islands.  I think they rent it out though to people to come and stay.  It totally looks like fun. In the old tradition, the women are the ones who inherit and pass the land along from generation to generation.  The present system of government in the Marshall Islands Republic  adopts some of the old traditional ways.   This includes the Iroj' Council which is based on the ancient social system of the Marshall Islands.  The Iroj are the landowning chiefs. There is also a president and a Nitijela which is an elected parliament.   The Iroj and the Alaps (lords) still have a huge influence on the people and government because they are the landowners and have a lot of power.  If you  are a land owner, you  can collect rent or kick anybody off of your land if you want to.   All of the land is owned by an Iroj.  If you are a regular person, you are called a Rijerbal or a worker.  You will be poor and probably always struggle.  I want to learn more about the history and how this all got started.  It totally doesn't seem fair though that only a very small number of people own all the land and are rich while the rest of them really struggle.

On the boat going to Eniko
On the Ocean side of Eniko
This was so fun.  Sister Jorlang, Sister Hillbourne, Me, Sister Woods, and Wayas in the back riding to Eneko.

One of the Islets
There are palm trees everywhere.  The beaches are very much in their natural state.  There are sea shells everywhere.  I collected a bunch.  I have never seen any Marshallese women wear swimming suits.  Most of them don't go in the water either except maybe to wash up or use the restroom.  Yes, a lot of the people do not have plumbing or toilets in their houses and just go in the ocean or lagoon.  You see them going out to the ocean behind some rocks or a tree all the time
Sister Hillbourne and Percy's kids
More Islets
More Islets
Pulling the floating dock into shore at Eniko

Sister Woods and I on the Lagoon Side of Eneko

Sister Woods and I at Eneko Island
We had a great time together on Eneko.  My next entry will be all about the missionary work we have been doing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Missionary Moments

Happy Thanksgiving
  We have been really busy in the mission having zone conference, and getting ready for Thanksgiving.  We will have all the missionaries that serve on Majuro here to dinner at the mission home on Thanksgiving day.    President and Sister Shaw will be in Tarawa so the senior missionaries will fix the dinner for all the missionaries.   It will be fun.  The Marshallese people don't exactly celebrate Thanksgiving.   The children will all still be in school, and most families will probably not have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I did see some turkeys at the store..frozen ones like we get back home.  We have been able to get everything we need to have a traditional dinner.

Some kids playing on a fallen tree
Majuro participated in the international walk for Diabetes

  We had the first zone conference since I have been here this past week.  It was really fun.  I was asked to talk about good health and then bear my testimony.  I had made a cute handout on all the things that the missionaries should remember to do to keep healthy.  Then I  talked also a little about Dengue Fever, because it is now the rainy season and the mosquitoes that cause Dengue Fever are around more since they breed in the little puddles of rain water.  I ended with my testimony.  It was really a spiritual meeting.  The mission president and his wife had just returned from  a Mission President's seminar in New Zealand.  They were told to expect an additional 30 missionaries to our mission by this spring.  Of course half will go to Kirabati and half will come here.  The work is moving forward and its so exciting.  I love all the missionaries.  I try to keep them healthy, but someone  usually calls with some kind of an ailment.  We haven't had anything very serious, thank goodness.  I do think that Heavenly Father has heard our prayers and is trying hard to bless us with good health. 
I always tell the missionaries that we also need to do our part and remember the things that will help keep us healthy.  (Drink only purified water and drink lots and lots, wash fresh fruits and vegetables with a solution of bleach and water, wash hands often, bathe daily and use special hand sanitizer from the MTC that is good for up to 90 hours (invented by a doctor that works for missionary medical), spray with mosquito spray daily and spray apartment with permethrine every 6 weeks, don't leave food laying around, wash sheets, are the main ones.) 

The Sisters at Zone Conference

The Elders at Zone Conference
I have been playing the piano and organ a lot.  We had stake conference last week and I played for that.  I am also playing for the primary program in my ward tomorrow and I played at the zone conference and for the baptisms in my ward.  Tonight was special.  It was the baptism of a young couple who just got married last week.  I played the organ at their wedding and tonight I played at their baptism.  The Sister missionaries who taught them were so cute last week.  They wanted to come to my house to make a wedding cake for the couple. I will include a couple of pictures of the wedding and cake.  They also got a white dress for the bride (I think it is one of the baptism dresses) and fixed her hair and made her a bouquet and had boutiners for the groom and little boys who were at the wedding.  It was exciting to see them get baptized tonight.  

The sisters made this wedding cake for the Bride and Groom

The Bride and Groom

Today one of our neighbors who works for the Taiwan Embassy here took all of the senior missionaries on a tour of a Taiwan fishing ship that was docked out in the lagoon.  It was so interesting.  It had just come into port and was taking its catch of tuna, sorting it and loading it onto another ship, a Korean transport ship which would take it to the Philippines.  We got a very extensive tour and got to go all over both ships and meet the captains and see the tuna being sorted and loaded.  It was really fun.  I am going to take the Taiwanese lady to church with me tomorrow.  She has been wanting to go and has been talking with some of us senior missionaries for several weeks.  She is the tall lady in the picture.  Its sort of unusual to see a tall Taiwanese lady isn't it Jason?  The Taiwan captain is also in this picture.  (See Taiwan Tuna Ship)

On the little boat going over to the Taiwan Fishing Vessell
The senior sisters, the captain, and  Allison, from Taiwan

Some kids fishing on the peer

Its hard to think that it is the holidays, because it is so hot and humid but I did go to the grocery store yesterday and they were playing Christmas Music.  It kind of seems weird to think it is really that time of year.  I am sure that you are all getting geared up for Thanksgiving and of course Black Friday.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and I will try to call to say hi.  Actually I will try to do my usual Sunday/Monday calls and then try again on Thanksgiving.  Don't forget if anyone wants to call me you can.  My number is 435-275-6391.  I will try to be here when you call. case I am not I will definitely call you back.  It doesn't cost either of us anything.  You could probably catch me any day at around 12:30-2 pm Utah time which is 7:30-9 am my time since you are 5 hours ahead of me (but one day behind me).  California/Nevada you could catch me at 11:30-1pm.  You are 4 hours (and one day behind me).  That means that I will celebrate Thanksgiving on your Wednesday.    You could call earlier in the morning but I run from 6:30-7:30 am my time and wouldn't be home.  You can actually try to call me anytime.  If my computer isn't on, it won't ring. 

Some Papaya behind my house (not real common here)

.  Please know I love you all and am praying for you and for your health and safety.  I am thankfull for wonderful family and friends.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Love, Sister Judi Bulkley

Behind my house...a tree fell down.  Lots of houses there.  nobody got hurt thank goodness 


Sister Barlow  and Sister Woods with me

It was President Shaw's birthday and we had a party for him
Can you see a chicken down by the lagoon?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Life on an Atoll

Iawke Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are all doing well and I am sure you are keeping busy.  My thoughts and prayers are with you always.  I have been in the Marshall Islands for over a month now.  I love it here, especially the wonderful people.  I especially love the children.  They are so cute and friendly.  There are so many too.  They always say Iawke and have a big smile.  Here is a cute picture of some of them
that came to my door selling green coconuts.  They are all husked and you cut off the top and drink the juice and eat a soft coconut inside.  Its supposed to be very nutritious.

The cute boys that came selling coconuts

I am studying Marshallese and hoping to learn more each day.  Its easier for the young missionaries because they are out every day talking to the people.  I work mainly with the missionaries and other people in the office so I don't get as much opportunity.  Plus I think its hard to hear all the sounds they say since they talk very fast and kind of mumble,...but that's just my excuse.  I am seriously studying and hoping to learn it.  Marshallese is spoken in church and so I would like to be able to understand and be able to speak without having to have a translator. That's one of my goals.

Sister Mahit,, me and Sister Roota

The missionaries are wonderful and I love working with them.  I have met all the missionaries serving on this island and gotten acquainted with all of them.  I do admire the great work they are doing here.  We have several baptisms every week it seems and the work is going strong here.  The Elders and Sisters are amazing.  They are hard workers and are out in the hot sun, (we are close to the equator)  every day for hours.  My job is to help keep them healthy.  That's what I tell them too.  I tell them it is easier to prevent illness than to treat it and give them some good reminders on what they need to stay healthy in this climate.  I have been able to become acquainted with some of the doctors and people who work at the hospital.  They practice  socialized medicine here and it also includes people from other places who come to the islands.  When an Elder or Sister has to go to the hospital for labs, x-rays or to see a doctor  it only costs them $20.00 for the whole visit.  That may sound really good, but I think if you were here you would agree with me that our system in the US is much superior and the health care is better.  The hospital is a little scary and they have to wait in long lines for everything.  Some of the doctors are really good though and I have enjoyed working with them. I am also able to give antibiotics and help missionaries so they don't have to always see the doctor.  I have seen some interesting health care issues  but the vast majority of them are dehydration related or the usual missionary ailments.  It keeps me busy but in my spare time I am preparing awards for the cleanest apartment and doing apartment checks, filling first aid boxes for the outer islands, writing newsletter articles on good health or just helping in the office.  I am also active in my ward.  I have been playing the piano for Primary.  We are practicing for the Primary program.  It is so fun to hear the children sing the songs in English.  They speak in Marshallese but they know the words to the songs in English.  Like I said, I love the little children.  One little girl came up to me and pointed to my hair and told me I have pretty hair.  I don't think they see blonds too often.

A cute girl in her school uniform

It's hard to believe that it is going to be Thanksgiving soon and then Christmas.  We have all the missionaries serving on Majuro over for a big mission Thanksgiving dinner.  The president and his wife will be in Kiribati for Thanksgiving but then will be here for Christmas.  They are always on the go since they have missionaries serving on many different islands and countries in the Pacific. They are wonderful people and I do so admire them and the great job that they do.  I think it would be very hard to be a mission president and mission wife.  They are amazing.  Since our mission covers such a large area in the Pacific, they are only here on Majuro about 40% of the time.  They travel to Kiribati, (Tarawa)  Karitimati (Christmas Island), and Ebeye and Kwajalein (another atoll in the Marshall Islands).  They also have missionaries on 3 outer islands here and soon to open another one and several in Kiribati also.  They don't go to the outer islands because it is hard for them to get back sometimes and they don't want to get stuck over there for weeks at a time without a way to get back.  The Marshall Airlines is not very dependable.  The missionaries serving there serve for 4-6 months at a time and communicate by radio.  We send a little first aid box with them with antibiotics and other medications and items to help them if they get sick.  They are supposed to try to call me before they start using the meds. Hopefully  they can get a hold of me.  They communicate with the APs every Tuesday by radio.  We have been blessed for sure because we have not really had anyone get really sick on the outer islands

Sister Barlow and me at Ejit Hospital

The senior missionaries hiked over on the reef to Ejit and other islets off of Majuro during low tide.(That's why I am wet)  On Ejit we met the health care provider and visited his little hospital

  I think it is starting to be the rainy season because the past week it rained almost every day and poured a lot too.  When its rainy the streets get full of water and it gets really muddy.  Some of the missionaries I visit live out on dirt roads so it makes that a challenge to drive to where they live.  The rain makes it a little cooler though and quite pleasant in the mornings to run.  Sister Woods and I run in the mornings.  When its 6:30 am you don't expect it to be hot but it is and very humid.  One morning this past week it was rainy like crazy so we got our umbrellas and ran in the rain.  It was fun.  I get soaked whether its raining or not. 

At this Thanksgiving Time I would like to tell of you thank you for being my wonderful family and friends.  I am very grateful for you and for your love and support of me.  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Love,  Sister Judi Bulkley

PO Box 1107
Majuro, MH, 96960
Marshall Islands
(Its just regular US Mail)

Taiwan Tuna Ship

The Taiwan Fishing Vessell
Today we had a fun experience of going to visit a Taiwan  Fishing Ship that was docked in the lagoon.  Our neighbor who works for the Taiwan Embassy took us on the tour.  First we got on a small little boat and traveled to the middle of the lagoon where the Taiwan ship carrying over a million dollars worth of tuna had just come into port earlier in the morning.  It was docked with a ship from Korea which was going to transport the tuna to the Philippines.  As we got to the ship they towed our whole little boat up to the main deck and we got onto the ship.  The crew was busy sorting tuna and loading it into great huge nets where it was  taken to the Korean Ship.  We got to go to all the major areas of both ships and see where the captain navigates his ship, sit in the captain chair, see the motor rooms and the equipment that monitors everything on the ship

These fishermen are down where it is about 37 F and are loading tuna into nets

The senior sisters, Taiwan Captain and Allison our neighbor

This helicopter was on the fishing boat in case it was needed
 It was so interesting and they sort them and put them on some kind of a conveyor belt.  Everything is done in cold temperatures of not more than 37 degrees F.  Then the fish are put into big nets again and carried over to the other ship.  The captain told us that since the Marshall Islands is a shark preserve, if they catch any sharks they have to let them go before they get to the Marshall Islands or they will be fined thousands of dollars.  There were 40 workers on the Taiwanese ship.  Not all of them are from Taiwan though.  Many of them are from the Pacific/Asia area like the Philippines, Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Guam etc.  When they become a member of the crew, they sign on for anywhere from 3-5 years, but it is a good job for them.  Most of them send their money back to their homeland for their families.   Our neighbor Allison, who works for the Taiwan Embassy is very tall for what you think of as a person from China.  She towered over most of us and really towered over the Captain who was from Taiwan also.  Allison has a husband and little girl who live in Taiwan.  She goes home every 6 months to visit with them.  I invited her to go to church with me today but she had to teach an English lesson.  She wants to come another time though.  She lives next to some of the other Senior missionaries, but we all go to different wards and so since she lives here she would be in my ward.   She has had an interest in the church and would like to learn more about it.  She says she is impressed with the missionaries here and back in Taiwan.  I told her I had a son who served in Taiwan on his mission.  She is from Taipai .  She was very nice .  After we were through touring the Taiwanese Vessel, we went on a plank over to the Korean Vessel which would transport the tuna to its destination.  This load would be going to the Philippines.

A big net of fish ready to go to the other ship
Sorting the tuna
Lots of Tuna
engines on the Korean ship
Captain of the Korean Ship
AThe Taiwan Ship
Steering the Taiwanese Ship
Sitting in the Captain's Chair of the Korean Ship
The plank we walked over to get to the Korean Ship